The residential construction industry continues to experience a labor shortage. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), there are currently over 200,000 vacant construction positions nationwide. In fact, a recent survey by the NAHB revealed that 70 percent of its members were experiencing delays in completing projects on time due to a shortage of qualified workers, while other jobs were lost altogether.
While the recession took away skilled workers who were unable to find jobs and dropped them out of the industry, younger workers are no longer even considering construction as a viable career option. Cash-strapped high schools have phased out shop classes, and parents have steered graduates to four-year colleges and white-collar careers. Now, as the baby boomers retire, there simply isn’t anyone ready to take their spots.
Building activity is projected to strengthen over the next few years, and the demand for skilled craftsmen is expected to continue to grow. While residential construction activity may have increased significantly since the low point of the recession, many still view this resurgence as weak.
NAHB’s Economics Group analyzed state data about PA’s residential construction labor market. Despite home sales and population growth lower than the national averages, PA gained a healthy 8% in construction wage growth from 2015-2017. In fact, the top earning construction job (Construction Supervisor) can earn upwards of $88,300 annually. The hottest construction labor market in PA? The metro area of Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton is expected to need 8% increased workforce demand.
Help is on the way
PBA’s Endorsed Trade Program has been producing hundreds of skilled residential construction-related workers annually since its inception in 2007. Using the latest NAHB educational guidelines, students who complete PBA-certified programs are then tested and receive their accreditation - providing reassurance to builders and potential employers in PA they are well-prepared for work with a residential construction company in critical fields such as building construction, cabinetry, HVAC, masonry, and plumbing trades. PBA members may review the list of potential employees at www.pabuilders.org/members using their member login information. Further information about the program can be found at www.pbaendorsedtrade.org.